Friday, 20 November 2020

Review: The Masking Falling by Samantha Shannon

Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.

The mysterious Domino Programme has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim – her former enemy – at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.

As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them – and could end with them.

📌 Publication date: 26/01/2021

After nearly 4 years, The Mask Falling, book four, in The Bone Season series is due to be released in 2 months. It's definitely been worth the wait! 

Recuperating in a safe house in Paris, Warden and Paige spend some time together as she recovers from the horrors she endured at the mercy of the Rephaim. I loved the first quarter of the book where Warden and Paige play house, with Warden attending to Paige's needs, bringing her heat pads, hot drinks and generally taking care of her. Their relationship further develops and grow. I've been rooting for Paige since The Bone Season, she has suffered a lot but still continues to fight for what she believes in. 

In terms of plot the stakes are even higher in The Mask Falling. We see Paige as she attempts to ally The Mime Order with the French syndicate in order to take down Scion. She also has the mysterious Domino Programme to deal with. I enjoyed the Parisian setting and exploring a different Scion controlled country. The picture Shannon painted made me want to visit Paris, something I've only done when I was younger but feel would appreciate more now that I'm older. I remember being skeptical when I first heard that it was going to be a seven book series, unsure if that many books were needed as I tend to prefer trilogies. The reason being because I find that the story drags and I lose interest. However, I see now why they are needed, the world Shannon has created is extensive and begs to be further explored.  

Overall , The Mask Falling is another great addition to the series. I can't wait for my signed pre-order to arrive, so I can add it to my book shelf.

Rating:

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Review: The Burning Kingdoms by Sally Green

In this conclusion to the epic Smoke Thieves trilogy, the world has erupted into all-out war. King Aloysius is mining powerful demon smoke and using it to fuel an unstoppable army of children. March, now banished for treason, has joined up with this boy army. Forbidden from ever seeing Edyon again, and overwhelmed by his own betrayal, March no longer cares if he lives or dies.Catherine--now queen of Pitoria--must find a way to defeat the boy army, while also grappling with her own troubles: her secret demon smoke addiction, and unresolved tension with her former lover, Ambrose. Catherine seeks military support from Calidor by reaching out to her illegitimate cousin Edyon, who has been proclaimed heir to the Calidorian throne. But Edyon has almost no power as he's entangled in the unfamiliar machinations and manipulations of the royal court,finding that being the claimed son of a prince may be no easier than being a bastard.With Catherine, his love, now married off and moving on, and his brother and sister tortured and executed before him, Ambrose doesn't know what his role in this world is any more. He leads an expedition into the demon world, hoping to destroy the boy army's stores of demon smoke. In this underground world, he runs into Tash, whom everyone had believed dead. She has survived in this new world using magical abilities that, prior to now, only demons had. Aloysius will send his demon smoke-powered boy army to kill them all, if he can. But what nobody knows is that there is more to the smoke than meets the eye...

Publication date: 27/08/2020 

Like the previous two books in the trilogy, The Burning Kingdoms, was easy to get through with action throughout. 

Catherine has been my favourite right from the start. I like how although she can't fight physically she is intelligent and has a fighting spirit. She uses her intelligence and wits to command respect. In a world where woman are treated like second class citizens she shows their true worth. 

The love triangle between Catherine/Ambrose/Tzsayn was quickly resolved, but the romance between Catherine and spoiler was very lacklustre and dull, with the phrase "kissed his hand" constantly being repeated. Edyon and March's romance on the other hand was more enjoyable to read, the yearning was well crafted. 

Tzsayn, I thought was an intriguing character in book one, and hoped to see more of him in book two. That didn't happen, which was disappointing, he was barely present in book two and three. This meant that we hardly got to know him. Yes, we hear about how good and kind he is, but we never actually see this except maybe in the way he acts towards Catherine. 

I really felt for Ambrose, he was in pain,  dealing with the loss of his family. I was rooting for him, and I admired his loyalty and determination. 

Overall, a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. 

Rating:

Friday, 20 March 2020

Review: The Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz

Summary: Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia's deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he's the Guild's most dangerous member and the Queen's one and only assassin. He's also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow--to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts--to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she'll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they're forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they'll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they'll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen's Secret series.

- Add to GoodReads
The only other thing I've read from Cruz is the first few books in her Blue Blood series. Since then I haven't been interested in any of her new releases. Then The Queen's Assassin came along, and YA high fantasy being my favourite genre I immediately added it to my GoodReads "to-read" shelf.

If you're wanting a unique YA fantasy then this isn't it. However, for me, it was exactly what I wanted at the time. A quick addictive read with my favourite tropes, including the "Oh no! There's only one bed, guess we'll have to share" trope.

The highlights of the book have to be:
1) The plot twist - The twist was revealed towards the end of the story and I didn't see it coming at all. For me, there wasn't any clues leading up to it, so it truly came as a surprise.
2) The relationship between Cal and Shadow - The amusing back and forth banter kept me entertained and had me rooting for them.

The negatives have to to be the romance and the assassin aspect of the book. I think the build up of the romance was great, but when something finally happened it was a fade to black that ended all too quickly. In terms of Cal, he is said to be this amazing assassin, but there's only one scene in which we actually see him using his skills. There wasn't enough action, in my opinion.

Overall, I'm looking forward to reading the final book in the duology, which is set to come out later this year! 

Rating:

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Thoughts: Mahimata by Rati Mehrotra


Summary: A young female assassin must confront the man who slaughtered her family, risk her heart, and come to terms with her identity as a warrior and as a woman in this thrilling fantasy from the author of Markswoman.

Kyra has returned to the caves of Kali, but her homecoming is bittersweet. Her beloved teacher is dead and her best friend Nineth is missing. And gone, too, is Rustan, the Marksman who helped her train for the duel with Tamsyn--and became far more than a teacher and friend.

Shaken by his feelings for Kyra and the truth about his parentage, Rustan has set off on a quest for answers. His odyssey leads him to the descendants of an ancient sect tied to the alien Ones--and the realization that the answers he seeks come with a price.

Yet fate has plans to bring Kyra and Rustan together again. Kai Tau, the man who slaughtered Kyra’s family, wages war on the Orders of Asiana. Hungering for justice, Kyra readies herself for battle, aided by her new companions: the wyr-wolves, who are so much more than what they seem. And determined to keep the woman he loves safe, Rustan joins the fight to ride by her side.

But will this final confrontation ultimately cost them their love...and their lives?

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Mahimata is the sequel to Markswoman, my review of book one can be found here. I feel like the Asiana duology is a under-rated gem of a series that needs more attention. The world building was explored more in Mahimata and we are given an extensive look at Asiana. The plot was action packed and the relationship between Kyra and Rustan was brilliantly done. I'm going to be honest and say that the ending was slightly confusing, but satisfying never the less. Overall, I would recommend this duology to adult and YA high fantasy lovers alike!

Rating:

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Review: Evermore by Sara Holland

Summary: Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

- Add to GoodReads
Unfortunately, the conclusion to the Everless duology was disappointing. 

I think my main issue with Evermore was that it was missing the element that made book one so interesting, i.e. the time is currency aspect. 

Evermore is basically focused on Jules running away from Caro, while at the same time trying to find a way to destroy her. There were a lot of flashbacks to their shared past together, and these flashbacks were used as a way to reveal answers which I thought was a bit of a cop out. The plot felt dragged out and the constant repetition didn't help matters. I never really felt any sense of excitement when I came back to the book after putting it down, I just wanted it to end, which is never a good sign.

The romance was kind of just there for me, it was nothing to write home about. I feel like there was potential, but it was lacking chemistry. 

The ending wrapped things up, however, Holland left it so that there could potentially be room for another book. Suffice to say I won't be reading it if there is, as at this point I'm no longer interested. 

Rating:

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Review: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Summary: High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

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Publication date: 12/02/2019

The Witchlands series is probably one of my favourite on-going series'. I've been impatiently waiting for the release of book three, and the fact that it's Aeduan's story had me even more excited.

As with the previous books, Bloodwitch, switches perspectives, with Aeduan's being the central point of view. I have shipped Aeduan and Iseult since the first time they crossed paths in Truthwitch. So, it's no surprise then that my favourite parts of Bloodwitch where when they were together - like I tried to slow down and savour those moments when I got to them, yet at the same time  I couldn't read fast enough. Dennard has done such a good job with creating tension between these two - they are the definition of slow burn.

If you're looking for a YA fantasy which features complex and multi-layered female characters this is the one. I love how Dennard has created female characters that are strong, but in different ways. She shows that the term "strong female character" doesn't just mean being able to fight and not liking feminine things - which I really appreciated as this is something that frustrates me.

A character who I absolutely fell in love with in Bloodwitch was Leopold. I really enjoyed his interactions with Iseult, but he's still a bit of a mystery, so I'm hoping we get to learn more about him in the next book.

The overall plot was amazing, and I liked all the interconnecting story-lines. All in all, Bloodwitch was a fantastic addition to the Witchlands series!

Ratinig:

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ships from books I've read so far this year

Hey, guys! Today I'm sharing my ships from some books I've read so far this year.

Laia and Elias from A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir


Catherine and Tzsayn from The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green


Rielle and Audric from Furyborn by Claire Legrand 


Theo and Soren from Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian 


Noemi and Abel from Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray


Who are you shipping from the books you've read so far this year?  😃
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